“I don’t want to lose creativity in the classroom” or the ability to tap into the “intellectual capability” of teachers, he said.
In order to give people an opportunity for a direct conversation, he circulated a list around the room asking audience members to include their name and contact information.
“I will listen to ideas” and put them into place when possible, he said. He wants the dialogue to be ongoing so as the district aligns its practices with the Common Core, it can fine-tune how that’s done.
After the meeting, ninth-grade English teacher Susan Murphy, who shared with the board specific examples of where the proposed module for her grade is lacking, said she was impressed with Yelich’s knowledge and willingness to listen.
“He hears us,” she said. “Collectively, we can arrive at a solution”
Other superintendents were called earlier in the day to discuss their experience with the modules.
Sidney Superintendent Bill Christensen said he was struggling with them. They are overly scripted, without taking into account the differences among students, he said.
While they are helpful, “we will have to supplement them” to be successful. “I think the state is rolling it out a little too quickly.”
Franklin Superintendent Gordon Daniels said because the modules are detailed, teachers may feel their academic freedom is being a little challenged. But to meet these concerns, the district is allowing them some flexibility, as long as the material is covered.
At Laurens Central School, Superintendent Romona Wenck said the modules are supposed to be tools that teachers use to help students succeed on state tests. While the Common Core is important, the state is making “way too many changes, way too fast, at the expense of of the taxpayers.”
Getting teachers teachers trained on the modules is a huge task, she said. It takes teachers out of the classroom, which is a big expense.